Japanese Wins Australian Solar Panel Powered Car Race

A team from Japan won a world race from cars power by solar panels. These solar panel powered cars had to race through Australia’s outback after battling more than 1,800 miles of remote highways, dodging kangaroos and other wildlife and avoiding a bush-fire. These races are more than a sporting event. They are a great way to inspire new solar technology and kick-start higher solar technological development. The team from Tokai University finished the solar race from the northern city of Darwin to the southern city of Adelaide at about noon on Thursday. [continue reading…]

Solar Panel Maintenance, a Necessary Chore

When a homeowner purchases a home solar kit or SunPod, solar panel maintenance is often viewed as an unnecessary evil, a task that often gets overlooked or delayed in order to save money. But at what cost to the homeowners investment and company’s reputation? I recently was at a homeowners installation of a one of our SunPods and the owner told me that simply by cleaning the panels, the output rose by 10%. [continue reading…]

The Marine Corps is exploring expanding it’s use of flexible solar panels that fit in a Marine’s pack and recharge batteries, the service’s top combat developer said. The portable solar panels would be modeled after technology that 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, deployed with last year to Sangin, Afghanistan, said Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, deputy commandant for combat development. Known as Solar Portable Alternative Communication Energy Systems, or SPACES, it was used by the unit to cut down on the number of batteries needed and to lighten an infantryman’s load. [continue reading…]

Dependable utility service is a media charade. I am reminded of the classic movie “Animal House” where during the hometown parade turned chaotic mess a public official is repeating “all is well… all is well”. A couple of weeks ago southern California and parts of Arizona experienced a nearly 24 hour blackout. Though it was a major event, it received little media coverage which blamed it on a utility worker flipping the wrong switch. Really? I will be the first to admit I am not the sharpest pencil in the box but it does not make sence to me that a single worker can take down a large portion of the SW power grid for nearly 24 hours by flipping the wrong switch.

For months we have been receiving an increasing number of phone calls from homeowners interested in small emergency solar generators. Feeling powerless during a blackout after a hurricane, tornado or just sitting at home when a utility work flips the wrong switch is scarry. Even a small home emergency generator can offer some real security and control over the helpless feeling one has when a disaster strikes. [continue reading…]

Ethics of Small Wind and Solar, a Road Less Traveled?

Next to my coffee maker this morning, my wife had placed a copy of the Sacramento news paper which had an article about a fraud probe that had been launched against a California based small wind manufacturer and a coupon for a cheap solar panel kit that was being advertised. The article about the small wind rebate program was titled “Fraud Probe Causes Pain for Small Wind Sites”.  As a result of the small wind turbine companies fraud probe, the California Energy Commission suspended the entire rebate program while it’s probe is conducted.

The minute I read the article chills went up my spine. Why? A couple of months ago we came about an inch away from picking up the company’s small wind generator product line but backed off at the last moment. I don’t recall if it was luck or instinct but something did not feel right or it just was not in the cards. [continue reading…]

On any given day there is enough reason to be mad as hell at Congress for still pumping money into Wall Street banks while they stick it to the average American. Two years after black October of 2008 and the economy still suffering, government is still giving banks enourmous bailouts and subsidies. In return for that, here is one more example of how we are treated on main street.

For years Goldman Sachs Cogentrix Solar Services, LLC used their sizable corporate power (Made even more powerful since we bailed them out.) to secure the exclusive rights to develop solar farms on nearly as much federal land in Nevada as all other companies combined even though the firm had neither written plans nor inked agreements with utilities to buy the power they proposed to make. [continue reading…]

Ford Focus to Partner for Solar Electric Vehicle (EV)

Ford has announced that it will offer it’s electric vehicle (EV) with grid-tied solar solar chargers in a pre-engineered kit. Pairing electric cars with home solar power has become trendy. Ford said Wednesday it will offer Sun Power’s solar electric systems to owners of Focus Electric Vehicle, which the carmaker plans to launch later this year. [continue reading…]

Off-grid Solar Solutions Without Backup Batteries

There continues to be ground breaking technology research in the area of off-grid solar products. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute has developed an off-grid solar solution to maximize utility of power supply while minimizing the need for storage solutions. In rural areas and in developing countries the potential for off-grid solar applications is great. However, the initial costs can prove to be an impediment to more widespread usage. [continue reading…]

Solar Farming in India is a Game Changer

Imagine a crop that can be harvested daily on the most barren desert and arid land, with no fertilizer or tillage, and that produces no harmful emissions. Imagine an energy source so bountiful that it can provide many times more energy than we could ever expect to need or use. Imagine that an hour’s worth of sunlight bathing the planet holds far more energy than humans worldwide could consume in a year. You don’t have to imagine it — it’s real and it’s here. Solar energy is an abundant enormous resource that is readily available to all countries throughout the world, and all the space above the earth. It is clean, no waste comes from it, and once a system is in place, it’s “free.” [continue reading…]

Considering the daily blow hards we see elbowing each other for their 15 min of fame on TV it’s hard to believe there is any agreement from Washington on anything let alone helping solar. It still doesn’t mark the Age of Aquarius, but two Republicans and a Democrat have joined forces to introduce legislation to revive a popular home solar financing program scuttled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year. [continue reading…]